Rafael Nadal has won his 10th Rome Masters title, beating world number one Novak Djokovic in the final.
Nadal started strongly taking the first set against a battling Djokovic, who then staged a comeback by completely dominating the second set with a double break and forcing a decider.
With both men finding their rhythm, the standard of tennis rose accordingly and both had break points on their opponents serve. But it was Nadal who made the breakthrough, finally winning the match 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.
It is the 10th Rome Masters title for the Spaniard, and now puts him on equal Masters titles with Djokovic at 36 each.
It also means that the players head to head stats are closer than ever, with Djokovic winning 29 and Nadal 28 of their 57 clashes.
After the match, Nadal said he thought he’d been lucky in the early stages of the tournament but that he’d worked hard and was happy with the result.
“I was lucky in some moments, especially against Shapo (Denis Shapovalov),” said Nadal.
“I have been playing better and better, finding my rhythm.
“I am very happy. It has been a fantastic tournament, where I have also suffered, but I think the dynamics have been positive.
“Winning 10 times here in Rome was unimaginable. I am very happy.
“I want to thank the entire organization of the Masters 1000 in Rome,” continued Nadal.
“I won it for the first time in 2005 and it will always be one of the most important places in my career.
Djokovic congratulated Nadal and his team for the win and joked that the veterans were the Next Generation themselves before the Spaniard spoke.
“Thank you Djokovic for your words towards me and my family. It has been a great game and I also want to congratulate you for everything,” added Nadal.
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